Australia posts its biggest-ever trade deficit

Ships in port. Photo: Getty Images

Australia’s April trade data is about as bad as it gets when you are looking for an economic transition. With imports up 4% and exports down 6% the seasonally adjusted deficit of $3,888 billion is the largest on record, fractionally shading the previous record of $3.881 billion set in February 2008.

The ABS said that part of the fall in exports was “driven by coal, coke and briquettes, down $859m (22%) as a result of the temporary closure of ports due to severe weather conditions.”

On the import side the surge was entirely misplaced it seems with the ABS reporting: “Capital goods rose $546m (10%) driven by imports of machinery and industrial equipment, up $1,232m (69%). Intermediate and other merchandise goods rose $371m (4%).”

So on balance this looks a somewhat aberrant number. But it’s still as shock to a market which was looking for a deficit of just $2.25 billion.

The Aussie dollar is down 0.77% to 0.7716 as a result of this and the weak retail sales result.

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